3 guilty pleas in Pilot Flying J case

Updated: January 27, 2014, 9:56 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Three former employees of the truck stop company owned by the family of Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam have pleaded guilty to federal charges involving a scheme where trucking companies were cheated out of promised fuel rebates.

The three entered their pleas Monday. They are among 10 former Pilot Flying J employees to plead guilty since federal agents raided the company's Knoxville headquarters last year.

One of the former employees who appeared in court Monday is Brian Mosher, a former director of sales, who admitted to training other company employees on how to cheat customers.

Company CEO Jimmy Haslam has denied involvement in the rebate scheme. Gov. Bill Haslam says he is not involved with the company's operations. The company has been forced to pay millions because of the fraud.

Jimmy Haslam has commented very little on the investigation, but he did say at the news conference where the firing of coach Rob Chudzinski was discussed the day after the season that the entire situation was embarrassing.

"I think we've said all along and I'll say it again, this is embarrassing for our family, our company, and I apologize [for] any cloud it has put over the City of Cleveland or the Browns," he said. "Nobody feels worse about that than I do.

"The company has done everything we said we would do. We've paid everybody back with interest. We've dealt with the individuals who made some very poor decisions. We've resolved a majority of the lawsuits. We are working closely with the government to work through these issues.

"We are confident we will have a successful, long-term outcome."

Haslam did not go into detail when asked that day if there was an ownership plan in place if he were indicted.

"I think we accept responsibility for what happened at our company as the person at the top," he said. "I think we've maintained all along that we have not done anything wrong and we are confident there will be a successful outcome."

Information from ESPN.com's Cleveland Browns reporter Pat McManamon and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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